Billy Casper wins the 500 Festival Open Invitational, again!
On July 31st, 1966 Billy Casper won the 500 Festival Open Invitational with a 274 total. He beat R.H. Sikes by a single stroke to claim his Indy victory for the second time in his career. Casper first won the 500 Festival Open Invitational in 1962 with a record-breaking score of 264, and would win it once more in 1968. It had been a great year for Casper, who had won the San Diego Open, The U.S. Open, and the Western Open all in 66′. With this win it boosted his earnings for the year to $97,913, which was best on the circuit at that point.
Up until this point in the history of the 500 Festival Open Invitational it had been played in May during the actual Indianapolis 500 activities. In 1966 it was the first year they moved it to July. This event had received its fair share of skepticism for many big names decided to skip the event. Common reasons for skipping included the lack of a challenge & the poor condition of the course. In 1966, players were actually permitted to lift, clean, and replace due to the unpredictable lies.
Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.